a reply to: Out6of9Balance
From Sri Ramana
EXISTENCE IS THE ONLY REALITY
Existence or consciousness is the only reality.
Consciousness plus waking we call waking.
Consciousness plus sleep we call sleep.
Consciousness plus dream we call dream.
Consciousness is the screen on which all the pictures come and go.
The screen is real, the pictures are mere shadows on it.
The Self (consciousness) and appearances therein as the snake in the rope can be well illustrated like this.
There is a screen (of consciousness, awareness, Beingness, existence).
On that screen first appears the figure of a king. He sits on a throne. Then before him on that same screen a play begins with various figures and
objects and the king on the screen watches the play on the same screen.
The seer (subject) and the seen (objects of perception) are mere shadows (projected appearances) on the screen (consciousness) which is the only
reality (substratum) supporting all the pictures.
In the world also, the seer and the seen together constitute the mind, and the mind is supported by or based upon the Self (consciousness).
The ajata school of Advaita (non-duality) says "Nothing exists except the one reality (awareness, Beingness, consciousness, existence). There is no
birth or death, no projection or drawing in, no sadhaka (practiser), no mimikshu (one who desires to be liberated), no mukta (one who is liberated),
no bondage, no liberation. The One unity alone exists forever."
To such as find it difficult to grasp this truth and ask "How can we ignore this solid world we see all around us?" the dream experience is pointed
out and they are told: "All that you see depends on the seer (subject). Apart from the seer there is no seen (object to perceive)."
This is called drishti-srishti vada or the argument that one first creates out of his mind and then sees what his mind itself has created.
To such as cannot grasp even this and who further argue "The dream experience is so short, while the world always exists. The dream experience was
limited to me. But the world is felt and seen not only by me but by so many and we cannot call such a world non-existent."
To such srishti-drishti vada is addressed and they are told "God first created such and such an element and then something else and so forth." (This
is the insight that all forms of creation are the result of a finer cause which in turn are the effects of a still finer cause, etc).
That alone will satisfy them. Their mind is not otherwise satisfied and they ask themselves "How can all geography, all maps, all sciences, stars,
planets and the rules governing or relating to them, and all knowledge be totally untrue?"
To such it is best to say "Yes, God created all this and so you see it." All these (explanations) are only to suit the capacity of the hearers.
The Absolute (consciousness) can only be One (since nothing else exists).
There is first the white light, so to call it of the Self (consciousness) which transcends both light and darkness. In it no object can be seen.
There is neither seer (subject) nor seen (object to perceive).
Then there is total darkness or avidya (lack of awareness of reality) in which also no objects are seen.
But from the Self (consciousness) proceeds a reflected light, the light of pure manas (mind), and it is this light which gives room for the existence
of all the film of the world which is seen neither in total light nor in total darkness, but only in subdued or reflected light.
From the point of view of jnana (knowledge) or the reality, the pain seen in the world is certainly a dream as is the world of which any particular
pain like hunger you refer to is infinitesimal part. In the dream also you yourself feel hunger. You see others suffering from hunger. You feed
yourself and moved by pity feed the others whom you find suffering from hunger.
So long as the dream lasted all those pains were quite as real as you now think the pain in the world to be. It was only when you woke up that you
discovered that the pain in the dream was unreal.
You might have eaten to the full and gone to sleep. You dream that you work hard and long in the hot sun all day, and are tired and hungry and want to
eat a lot. Then you wake up and find your stomach is full and you have not stirred out of your bed.
But all this is not to say that while you in the dream you can act as if the pain you feel there is not real. The hunger in the dream has to assuaged
by the food in that dream.
You can never mix up the two states, the dream and the waking state.
Till you reach the state of jnana (realize consciousness to be the sole reality) and thus wake out of maya (the world illusion) you must do social
service by relieving suffering whenever you see it. But even then you must do it without ahamkara - the sense of 'I am the doer' but with the feeling
'I am the Lord's tool.'
Similarly, one must not be conceited 'I am helping a man below me. He needs help. I am in a position to help. I am superior and he is inferior.' But
you must help the man as a means of worshipping God (consciousness) in that man.
All such service too is for the Self (consciousness) and not for anybody else. You are not helping anybody else, but only yourself (inner awareness
which is consciousness).
Giving to others is really giving to oneself (consciousness).
If one knows this truth, would one ever remain without giving?
P.S. That website (www.theself.com) is like a Weimaraner; there are no 'duds'...